Resources for Early Childhood Professionals
Great disparities exist among early care and education professionals throughout Texas. Early childhood professionals work in public schools, Head Start centers, child care centers and homes, as well as other settings. They work as teachers, assistants, trainers, consultants, mentors, directors, behavioral specialists, etc., and their credentials may range from GEDs to Master's degrees in child development.
The Texas Early Learning Council recognizes that in order to improve school readiness in Texas, efforts must be made to strengthen the workforce serving young children. Research is clear that the most critical element in supporting school readiness in the classroom is the quality of the interactions between children and the adults that work with them. Therefore, it is critical that any effort to improve the quality of early care and education include a focus on the workforce. The Council will commit significant resources to empower and strengthen the early care and education workforce in Texas. Efforts of the Council in this area include:
- Develop an Early Childhood Education Career Development and Registry System. The Texas Early Learning Council will build on the work of the Texas Early Care and Education Career Development System (TECECDS) to support the creation of a cross sector professional development system for early childhood professionals. This system will include a robust online workforce registry for practitioners, directors, and other early care and education professionals in Texas.
- Develop an Early Childhood Education Provider Career Ladder, which will define levels of knowledge and skill mastery for various roles within the early care and education profession and identify steps for advancement through the workforce. The Ladder will recognize and reward higher levels of preparation and mastery of practice to promote higher quality services for children.
- Enhance the Texas Core Knowledge and Skills Areas into new Core Competencies for early care and education professionals to include areas specific to the experience of the learner (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). In addition, the Council will add core competencies for early care and education coaches, mentors, and consultants.
- Conduct a provider compensation study. The Council will provide practitioners and others with precise knowledge of the wage market for early care and education professionals, so that individuals and organizations will have key information to inform their workforce and professional development decisions.
- Provide examples of articulation agreements to 2 and 4 year higher education institutions. These agreements would span from community-based training to community colleges to universities. Often a key barrier for early childhood professionals is that their on-going training and professional development efforts are not compatible with higher education requirements. The Council will also identify and promote model sites that demonstrate effective education transitions.
The Texas Early Learning Council will work closely with the Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System Council to accomplish many of these goals. A key goal of the Texas Early Learning Council is to increase awareness of and support for the TECPDS as Texas' state professional development system.